Los Angeles in the 1900s

Police Capt. Walter H. Auble

From various newspapers, September 10, 1908


Walter H. Auble, captain of police, was shot and mortally wounded yesterday morning by Carl Sutherland, a suspected burglar, in resisting arrest.

Capt. Auble died six hours later in the Receiving Hospital.

Within another six hours, Sutherland had paid the penalty, but by his own hand. He committed suicide at 79th Street and Moneta Avenue . . . by swallowing liquid cyanide of potassium. . . . [Examiner]


Capt. Walter H. Auble, the officer longest in service on the Los Angeles force, was murdered in cold blood yesterday by Carl D. Sutherland, a socialist, who committed suicide last night while facing the guns of patrolmen.

The cowardly shooting, the escape of Sutherland, a man hunt in which 2,000 participated and the tragic ending of the murderer all crowded into a brief 12 hours

shocked the city and caused great excitement.

From the time of the announcement of the crime

until the lifeless body of the slayer had been dragged into the Receiving Hospital, a throng stood about police headquarters, clamoring for revenge, and then stilled into respectful, touching silence as the dead officer was carried from the station door to the undertaker’s wagon. . . . [Times]


Captain Walter H. Auble, for 21 years a member of the Los Angeles Police Department, is dead from the bullet of an assassin, and Carl D. Sutherland, who fired the shots that killed the police officer, was hunted down and captured by the police 12 hours after he committed the murder.

“Dead or alive” was the order given to the officers who were searching for the slayer, and dead they took him, but it was by his own hand that he died, for rather than face the hangman’s noose at San Quentin, he committed suicide, as he had threatened to do. . . . [Herald]


A landlord’s suspicions lead to a stakeout

From the Los Angeles Herald

It was Monday last . . . that Captain Walter Auble received the information [that led to his death] . . . .

E.H. Walters, the proprietor of a rooming house at 937 Georgia Street, called at police headquarters and reported that there were two men rooming at his place . . . [who] came and went at all hours of the day and night, [with] bulky packages and that in their room was whisky, morphine, tools of all kinds, blackjacks, pistols and masks.

. . . on Tuesday morning so great was his interest in the case that, accompanied by Captain of Detectives Paul Flammer, he [Auble] went to the Georgia Street house and, with the assistance of Mrs. Walters, got into a room adjoining the one occupied by Sutherland and Fred Horning.

Both men were in the room . . . . Through a transom the officers had a good view of them so that their faces were firmly impressed on their memories.

Through the thin wooden door, . . . they heard enough of a casual conversation to convince them that the two men were indeed . . . desperate crooks. . . .

From that conversation they learned that the men . . . within a day or two . . . planned to commit the biggest robbery they had yet attempted in this city.

Finally both Sutherland and Horning . . . departed from the house [and] Captains Auble and Flammer were admitted to their room by Mrs. Walters and they made a thorough search of the place, taking care, however to disturb nothing that would call attention to their visit.

(Continued below.)

Killer fires point-blank at officer

From the Los Angeles Herald

In a closet of the room they found . . . braces and jimmies, chisels and saws, keys of all kinds and electric flash lamps.

. . . in the bottom of a dressing case . . . hidden under a lot of dirty clothes they found two revolvers of large size, two black masks such as are used by highwaymen and a blackjack and slingshot

In the drawer of a table was found . . . a letter . . . signed by Sutherland. . . .

The letter advised Horning to come up at once as he (Sutherland) had picked out “two dandy cribs to crack, in which there would be no trouble whatever, and hundreds of dollars’ worth of loot as a reward.”

The letter stated that the two houses picked out for robbing were those of Gilbert S. Wright, president of the Wright & Callender company, at 3077 Wilshire Blvd., and Fielding J. Stilson . . . of 1044 West Kensington Road. . . .

[The two officers] . . . met yesterday morning . . . at the home of Capt. Auble at 1817 S. Hope St. and from there went to . . . South Georgia Street, only to receive the information that the two men had left . . . .

. . . the two officers took an
eastbound Ninth Street car to come up town. As the car passed Hope Street, Capt. Auble saw two men whom he recognized as Sutherland and Horning. . . .

The Times story, though, said that the two policemen were trailing the suspects all along.

Capt. Auble got the motorman of the car to stop in the middle of the block, and the officers advanced toward the two men on the sidewalk. . . . the criminals turned and hurried their walk back toward Grand Avenue.

At the corner of the street, they were overtaken, and stepping up to them, Capt. Auble continued: “We are police officers, and you two boys are under arrest.”

. . . the two men turned and sprang down the street, but the officers were equally alert and in an instant had overtaken and grappled with them.

Horning was seized by Capt. Flammer and thrown headlong into the doorway of the carpet-beating establishment of A.J. Mullen at the corner of Ninth Street and Grand Avenue. . . .

“Surrender, I am an officer,” cried Auble, and Sutherland’s reply was to jerk from his coat pocket with his left hand a

long-barreled revolver [which he] fired point blank at the officer. The bullet struck Auble in the neck on the left side and about midway between the jaw and the shoulder.

The drawing shows Auble in uniform, but he was undoubtedly in civilian clothes.

Auble crumpled in a heap on the ground, but . . . as he fell tried to wrest the weapon from the burglar’s hand.

. . . Sutherland pulled the trigger a second time, and the bullet plowed its way through the criminal’s right arm. . . .

Sutherland cried: “Let me go, damn you, let me go, and pressed the muzzle of the weapon to Auble’s abdomen and at the same time pulled the trigger.

With the shot, the officer cried, “I am done for!” and fell backward. . . . Sutherland . . . fired again, the bullet striking Auble in the chest . . . .

(Continued below.)

From the Los Angeles Herald

The contents of the package which was carried by Sutherland were a new revolver and an outfit such as is common to drug users, consisting of hypodermic syringes, drugs and such stuff.

The captain dies with his family around him.

From the Los Angeles Herald

As Sutherland fired the fourth and final shot at Auble, Flammer had overcome Horning after a terrific struggle . . . .

. . . to one of a crowd of men who had gathered, he cried, “Get that man’s (Auble’s) handcuffs from his pocket and bring them here.”

. . . then, directing the men to hold the prisoner, Flammer ran to Auble’s side and cried, “Are you hurt, Walter?”

“I am shot, Paul, and done for,” replied Auble in a weak voice. “Get him if you can.”

Regard for the man who had served by his side for more than a decade overcame all other impulses . . . and tenderly he raised the wounded man from the ground, at the same time

shouting to a man in an automobile, who had just driven up, to bring his machine to the sidewalk. . . .

Horning was bundled into the front of the machine, and, holding Capt. Auble in his arms, Flammer directed that the motor car be rushed with all speed to the city prison. . . .

 Auble was carried into the receiving hospital, where Doctors Quint, Garrett, Cook and Clarence Moore attended him. . . .

The hospital was literally besieged with men, eager to lend a helping hand. Officers flew to obey orders. Inside the little operating room, Auble lay on the table waiting for the operation. [The Times]

To Detective Hawley he said: “I’m going to die, and I want to go game.” . . . [The Times]

After the operation, Capt. Auble rallied finely, and ten minutes later his pulse and respiration were found to be much stronger than when he was brought in.

It was announced that if the shock did not kill him, he would have an excellent chance to recover. A few minutes later, however, it was observed that he was growing weaker and the administration of oxygen was resorted to. . . .

In the meantime, members of Capt. Auble’s family had been notified, and Mrs. Auble, his two daughters and his son, William, were present at the bedside when he passed away.

He was holding his wife’s hand — saying over and over again — “It was my last fight — good bye.” [The Examiner]

(Continued below.)

The diagram shows Captain Auble’s encounter with his slayer and how the tragedy happened. No. 1 shows Auble and Flammer leaving the Ninth Street car at Ninth Street and Grand Avenue. No. 2 shows Auble and Flammer meeting Sutherland and Horning. No. 3 shows Flammer backing Horning into carpet-cleaning house doorway. No. 4 shows how Sutherland shot down Captain Auble. No. 5 shows M.A. Whitman, eyewitness to the murder.

Citizens join in the hunt for Sutherland

From the Los Angeles Herald

. . . after shooting Auble, Sutherland, with his smoking revolver still in his hand, ran . . . west on Ninth Street.

At the intersection of Ninth and Hope street, he stopped and coolly broke his revolver and inserted fresh cartridges into the empty chambers.

The shells which he ejected from the gun were picked up by Herman Phillips, a young boy who lives at 910 S. Hope Street . . . .

Sutherland sat down on the edge of the curbing and bound up his left wrist, which was bleeding freely. He then rolled a cigarette and lighted it, after which [he fled to his rooming house].

He then . . . penned a note, which he left lying there. . . .

“You will never get me alive. I will kill myself before I allow you to capture me.”

Sutherland then removed from a valise and placed in his pocket a two-ounce bottle of cyanide of potassium . . . .

Leaving the house, he went south on Georgia Street, and at 11th Street, trace of him was lost. . . .

While Captain Flammer was following the trail of blood from the Georgia Street house, the officials at the central police station were organizing searching parties.

The Sheriff’s Office was notified of the shooting, and the big red automobile, with Sheriff [William A.] Hammel and several deputies aboard, reached the station in record-breaking time. . . .

Officers were detailed to watch street cars and seek information from motormen and conductors. The floors of all street cars were examined [for traces of blood]. . . .

The news was carried quickly, and soon people began to arrive, on motorcycles, horseback, automobiles and on foot. In a short time the neighborhood of the rooming place of the murderer was thronged. . . .

After losing the trail on 11th Street, the posse walked east in hopes of picking up the scent and was rewarded by finding a new trail of apparently recent make . . . . the mystery was soon solved when the searchers came upon a small boy holding a handkerchief to a bleeding nose. . . .

As in all cases of a similar nature, rumors will float about. One was to the effect that a man answering the description of Sutherland was seen near Redondo.

. . . several hounds belonging to a negro, with the owner, were loaded into an automobile and, with several men armed with repeating rifles, hurried away in the direction of the ocean. . . .

(Continued below.)

From the Los Angeles Herald

Owing to the day being a holiday [Admission Day, the 58th anniversary of California’s joining the Union] and many people free from the cares of work, an unusually large crowd gathered around the central police station [at First and Broadway] . . . .

Patrolmen who were off duty hurried to the station . . .  there was hardly a man but had occasion to wipe tears from his eyes . . . .

From the Los Angeles Herald

When the county automobile, with Sheriff Hammel and Chief of Police [Edward] Kern aboard, [had] . . . finished a tour of the Westlake district and the country in that section, a small boy rushed up and excitedly exclaimed:

“They have caught the man. I saw him in the automobile patrol wagon going toward town. He was handcuffed, and four or five policemen were holding him to keep him from jumping out.”

The officers quickly re-entered the big motor car and were hurried to the central station, where they found that the man . . . was a motorcycle rider who had been injured at Agricultural Park. Click here to read that story.

Headline from the Los Angeles Daily Times

Killer of Brave Officer
Takes His Own Worthless Life

From the Los Angeles Herald

As soon as it was ascertained that Sutherland had been employed as a waiter in both the California and University clubs, Chief Kern detailed detectives to find out the man’s friends and acquaintances among his fellow workers.

Detectives Ritch and Roberds found Charles Weihe, . . . perhaps the most intimate acquaintance the . . . criminal had in Los Angeles, but as soon as he learned of the crime committed by Sutherland, he volunteered to the officers all information in his power . . . .

[He told them] in his opinion Sutherland would either come to his house when it grew dark or else go to the house of another friend at 414 S. Grand Ave. for assistance. . . .

Sergt. Benedict, Patrolmen Bert Smith and Leo W. Marden were sent to the Weihe home at 77th St. and Moneta Avenue [now part of South Broadway]. . . .

A few minutes after 9 o’clock, Sergt. Benedict saw a form approaching along the path. . . . Leveling a shotgun loaded with buckshot at his

breast, Benedict cried, “Throw up your hands!”

Like a flash, Sutherland’s right hand flew to a level with his shoulder, and in it was grasped the long-barreled revolver with which he had shot the police captain earlier in the day.

“Drop that gun or I will riddle you with buckshot!” cried Benedict . . . .

“All right, boys, you have got me and I will surrender,” replied Sutherland, tossing his revolver to the ground and raising his right hand above his head.

His left hand, grasping a small object, was raised the height of his chest, and Benedict sternly ordered him to raise it also.

“All right,” cried Sutherland, and he raised his hand to the level of his mouth and quick as a flash placed the small object . . . to his lips and swallowed its contents.

Benedict . . . sprang forward and placed handcuffs around his wrists. . . .

 From the Los Angeles Examiner

“I guess you’ve got me all right, boys,” Sutherland said. They agreed with him.

A moment later, he said, “I feel pretty weak, boys; haven’t had anything to eat since last night.”

The officers decided to give him some whisky, and Benedict went into Weihe’s house to bring it.

Before he returned, Sutherland fell from the supporting arms of the two officers, and when they bent down, they saw that his muscles were contracting and that convulsions were seizing him. . . .

Never did men work more valiantly to save another man. They not only dosed him with a powerful emetic, but they [also] tried to induce artificial respiration.

They put their whole hearts into the task, almost prayed that he would live, but he died . . . while the patrol wagon was hurrying him to the receiving hospital.

From the Los Angeles Herald


Rose From Bottom Rung of Ladder by Ability

Career as Detective Marked by Special Brilliancy

Walter H. Auble was born in Illinois 47 years ago and in early life removed to California and settled in Los Angeles.

He was one of the oldest and was regarded as one of the ablest officers connected with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Beginning at the bottom rung, he worked his way up to the position of chief of police by sheer ability alone.

At the age of 25 he was appointed a special officer and worked at one of the prominent theaters of that day.

January 1, 1887, he was made a regular patrolman . . . . he was appointed three years later a member of the detective force. . . .

He was appointed captain of police July 21, 1903.

November 7, 1905, he was appointed chief of police and held that position exactly one year . . . .

Patriotic to a high degree and filled with civic pride, he

Image is from the Los Angeles Police Department.
was looked upon as one of the leading residents of Los Angeles. . . .

Within fifteen minutes after death, policemen cleared the sidewalk in front of the station and through a passageway lined on either side by hundreds of men, standing with respectfully bared heads, the body of Captain Auble was

borne to a waiting ambulance and taken to the undertaking establishment of Bresee Brothers. . . .

Captain Auble was 47 years old. In 1888 he married Miss Florence Andrews, two years after he entered the police department as a patrolman.

Surviving him are the widow, . . . Julia, aged 16; Gladys, aged 14; and Earl, aged 18.

His mother, Mrs. Hannah Auble, 82 years old, lives in Savannah, Mo., where a brother, Nathan, also lives.

William A. Auble, a conductor on the Southern Pacific, and Frank H. Auble, a plumber, living at Eighth and Los Angeles streets, brothers, and Mrs. William Lillibridge of Rochester, Mo., a sister, also survive him.

Captain Auble was a member of the Westgate Masonic Lodge, a Scottish Rite Mason, 32nd degree, and belonged to Temple Al Malaikah Shrine. He was also a member of the Maccabees, tent No. 2 of Los Angeles.

From the Los Angeles Daily Times


Police Monument Project Is Revived

The tragic death of Capt. Auble . . . has reawakened interest in the proposition to rear a monument to the memory of officers who give up their lives in the discharge of their duty.

There is a general feeling among police officers that such a monument would have a good effect upon the morale of the department, in that it would keep before young officers the examples of those who have considered duty before all else.

Within the past two years, three officers have met death at the hands of criminals.

The first . . . was Officer May; next Officer Patrick Lyons was laid low . . . .

Prior to the death of May, the department had been remarkably fortunate.

The rapid growth of the city and the consequent influx of desperate crooks makes the duties of a policeman far more dangerous than in previous years, however.

The plan is to erect a monument . . . and cut upon it the names of the honored dead. . . .

The killing of Capt. Auble caused grief in Chinatown. Never in the history of the celestial quarter had a catastrophe occurred that touched the people more.

Auble had been their friend. He had interceded in their behalf many times and had been the personal friend of many of the merchants.

The Chinese flag and emblems over the josshouses were at half mast . . . .

A committee of Chinese visited police headquarters and made a remarkable request. Headed by Ching Wing, one of the most influential merchants in the Chinese quarter, they asked a favor of Lyle Pendergast, secretary to the chief.

“Would Mr. Pendergast permit the delegation of Chinese to care for the remains of the murderer?” . . .

They had planned to boil it in a preparation of acids and then after heaping further abuse upon it to throw it out on a refuse heap where it could rot in the sun with none of the sacred Chinese emblems to drive away the evil spirits . . . .

Pendergast told the delegation that he could not

grant the request and that the remains are to be buried by the widow.

. . . the sorrowing celestials, having expressed their grief in the most extreme manner, went back to their homes in Chinatown to burn little punk-sticks before their gods for the repose of the spirit of the dead captain.

Was the cop-killer really a Socialist?

The Los Angeles Times said so, in its September 10 issue. But that was typical for Harrison Gray Otis’s smear sheet. The conclusion was probably based on Sutherland’s having instigated a kind of wildcat strike of cafe workers the preceding spring.

From the Los Angeles Herald


SAN BERNARDINO, Sept. 9 — Carl Sutherland, who shot Captain Auble, was employed in a local cafe during the festival of the Arrowhead last spring.

He proved a trouble maker while employed here, causing a strike among the waiters one day when the management discharged him in order to prevent a complete walkout of the help.



LONG BEACH, Sept. 9 — Mrs. Carl Sutherland . . . has been chief operator in the long distance department of the Home Telephone Company here since last April and is considered an estimable young woman by her acquaintances.

She . . . endeavored to avoid newspapermen and photographers, . . . holding a parasol in front of her so that her face could scarcely be seen.

From the Los Angeles DailyTimes, September 10, 1905

SAN BERNARDINO, Sept. 9 — Carl D. Sutherland . . . last June was a private patient in the County Hospital.

The physician who cared for him . . . believes Sutherland was not right mentally. He claimed to have farmed in the Imperial Valley; he and a partner, supposed to be Fred Horning, having made a failure of that venture.


Detectives Chapman and Home were sent to Long Beach early in the day . . . . they searched the rooms occupied by his wife and found numerous letters written to her, in which he told of plots to rob and even to murder for the purpose of obtaining money.

From the Los Angeles DailyTimes, September 10, 1905

Among Sutherland’s effects was found a note addressed to his wife. It runs as follows:

“To my darling wife, in case of my death: I love you, dear, better than this life. I tried to do right, but the world wouldn’t let me. Be brave and try to hold onto the little farm. Carl.”

From the Los Angeles DailyTimes

In his letter, Sutherland spoke of his plans to capture a millionaire clubman named Newhall and hold him for ransom.

The letters written Newhall were placed in Capt. Flammer’s possession two weeks ago by Newhall, who fled to Europe to avoid the danger.

From the Los Angeles DailyTimes

Strange Confessions of a Fiend

“To my wife: I deceived you as to my character, but believe me, dear, I am not half so bad as they will paint me.

“Picture to yourself a boy but 12 years old, slim and delicate, and nervous and more of a studious disposition than anything else, turned out to make his living among rough men, many of whom tried to take advantage of his youth and weakness in brutal ways.

“Picture to yourself a boy, tender-hearted, almost cowardly, becoming worse and worse through having to defend himself until he committed a crime, not a common sneak thief job, but a regular robbery . . .

“I became a robber but was betrayed when I tried to earn an honest living and was sent to the reform school.

“After my release I joined the Army hoping to become an officer, but my past blocked my progress, and I deserted and tried to work, but I got it in the neck at the University Club just as I was beginning to get a start.

“I was discharged, and

unjustly, too, and I am about to lose our little farm, and I can’t get a job and can’t bear to see you sick and working and me lying around.

“I am mad, desperate, and I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks. I want you to know that I would do anything to work for you and be happy, but they won’t let me.

“If I die, I will die thinking of you, and if I live you will never know. I love you, my dear, my darling, my love, but I hate tht insect at the University Club, that they call ‘The Professor’ with my last breath. Damn him.

“Forgive me, dear, goodbye.” . . .

The following is in part Sutherland’s remarkable history penned by himself . . . .

“I was born at Lamar County, Mo., September 29, 1882. My father was Fred B. Sutherland, first marshal of Pittsburg, Kan., in the early days. . . .

“My uncle by marriage was Wyatt Earp, the wiper-out of the Curly Bill gang at Tombstone.

“On both sides my blood relatives have fought in

every war of this country from 1775 down to the Spanish-American War. I tried to enlist then, but I was too young, and they refused me.

“I am the last of a race of fighters and the only black sheep in the crowd.

“My mother died when I was 3 years old and my brother shortly thereafter. My father married when I was 12 years old, and I could not get along with the other woman and was forced to foot it alone.

“I became a chore boy, but the thugs about the farm abused me fearfully. I was timid and afraid until in my fury I turned on one and struck him in the head with a pitchfork. That made me bolder.

“The work was too hard for my slight stature and ill health, and I became desperate.

“I could shoot at the drop of a hat. I have always been able to . . . get my gun in action faster than any officer I have ever met.

“It will go hard with the man who tries to take me, if it is a case of gun work. . . .”

From the Los Angeles Examiner

Late last night, when told by a jailer that Sutherland was dead, Horning rolled sleepily in his cell and said: “He had his boots on, didn’t he?” And with that remark, he turned over in his cot.

Fallen LAPD Officers

Click on a name to read the story.
The Officer
Dates of Birth and Death
Joined the LAPD
July 12, 1879–February 28, 1907
January 1, 1906
ca. 1877–November 30, 1907
August 20, 1907
(was a special before then)
ca. 1861–September 10, 1908
January 1, 1887
(ca. 1886 as a special)
Los Angeles Police Historical Society

Los Angeles history